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Mexican Export and Import Unit Value Indices

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Introduction Export and import price indices are useful for the analysis of foreign trade statistics. Besides being used as deflators, they provide information for the measurement of competitiveness of the economy, for the analysis of international prices trends, for the estimation of price elasticities and to calculate future domestic inflation, Among other uses. Due to the lack of export and import price surveys to firms in Mexico, a methodology to estimate export and import unit value indices for the Mexican economy is being developed. 1

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The Data Our unit value indices are estimated with information contained in custom declarations, in which goods are classified with the codes of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS). The classification of the system has been modified three times: in 1997, 2002 and 2007. To make this information compatible throughout time, it would be necessary to build equivalence tables for each version. However, changes made in 1997 were so large that it was not possible for us to build an equivalence table for that version. Therefore, our estimations start in July 1997, month in which the changes occurred. 2

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The Data Transactions classified into Chapters 98 and 99 of the HS were omitted from the calculation. This is because these chapters are used by Customs Authorities to register special trade movements, which we can not identify or classified. The value of both chapters represented, in the case of exports, less than one per cent of the total, while for imports represented approximately 4 per cent. Likewise, items ending with 99 into our 8 digit clasification were removed because they refer to goods classified as The rest in each sub heading. About 38 per cent of imports and 28 per cent of exports are items ending with 99. 3

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How we treated the outliers? In order to identify and remove outliers, the information was broken down for each item by firm, and each firm by country. This allowed us to have a set of unit values for each item, and detect the outliers through the analysis of the distribution of those unit values. The detection of outliers was performed using nonparametric methods that take into account the distribution of unit values of each item. These methods require a minimum of observations; therefore, those items with less than ten operations in a month were omitted. These operations represent 8.3% of the exports value and 12.9% of imports. 4

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How we treated the outliers? To identify outliers into items with more than 100 operations the Asymmetric Fence Method (AFM) was applied. Outliers into items with less than 100 operations were detected with the Mean Absolute Deviation (MAD) method. In both cases, the logarithms of the unit values were used because it has been proved that the log-transformation improves the outlier detection method by reducing the Type I Error (observations that are not outliers but the method would detect as such). Trade operations that represented at least 30 per cent of the trade into an item were not eliminated, despite the methods described above could identify them as outliers. This was done because excluding these transactions could diminish the sample representativeness. 5

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The AFM 6

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The MAD 7

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Making the Index 8

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Making the Index The next step consisted in obtaining unit value indices each month. In other words, the ratio between the unit value in a month and the average of the unit value in the reference period, To calculate the elementary indices, Unit Value Indices were treated as a price ratio in the standard index formulas. Using the Laspeyres, Paasche and Fisher price index formulas, the Sub Heading indices are: 9 Where,

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Making the Index 10 Where,

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Making the Index The year 2005 was selected as the reference period for prices and weights because within the range period, the prices in 2005 were more stable due to less internal and external shocks. It is important to notice that for the weights used in calculating aggregate indices Chapters 98 and 99 were excluded. Finally, weighting the resulting indices from the aggregation by section we obtain the overall index. 11 Where,

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The Index The following graphs present the Unit Value Indices of Exports and Imports, Total and Excluding Petroleum, as well as Terms of Trade. 12

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The Index 13

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The Index 14

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The Index As an element of evaluation, comparisons between U.S. Export and Import Price Indices and Mexican Imports and Exports Unit Values were done. The following chart shows the comparison between the Mexican Export Unit Values Index and the U.S. Import Price Index. As shown, there is a similarity between these two indices. 15 1/ Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

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The Index The comparison between the Mexican Imports Unit Values Index and the U.S. Exports Price Index shows that both trajectories are similar. 16 1/ Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

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